I love a good collection. As a collector/hoarder/op-shop desperado myself, I love to poke my head into other people’s homes and see what they compulsively group together. Jessica Jubb’s Gidgegannup studio has prints, embroidery and tea towels featuring Australian flowers and landscapes, bunches of knitting needles (briefly difficult to find when everyone was making bent bracelets in the early 2000’s, now fully stocked in all country towns), tins with some of that deliciously faded graphic art – obviously a utilitarian necessity to pile other smaller collections in. Above all of these second hand treasures, Jubb collects leaves, leaves and some more leaves and she doesn’t have to travel far to gather these shapely specimens, whose form ranges from long and spiky to….short and spiky – the Aussie bush is a really scratchy place. How people lived here pre-Blundstones for more than 40,000 years still blows my mind every time I go walking and get poked through my jeans.
Jessica Jubb spent her childhood wandering the bushland in Parkerville, in the Mundaring Valley outside Perth in Western Australia. Her parents, European migrants who were completely taken with the Australian landscape, inspired a lifetime of botanical curiosity – so much so, that after many years living in the city, Jubb made the move back out to the same area, with her jewellery studio in tow. The home and studio that she shares with her partner Grayson, a wine distributor, is on a beautiful property on the Wooroloo Brook. Jubb’s collections of leaves from the area become a launching point for her jewellery design- each piece, an extension of her philosophy on design and life.
Whilst my botanical descriptions peak at ‘spiky’, hers are a little more refined and Jubb’s knowledge on all things shrubbery made for a beautiful and educational walk on the day of the shoot. I have even managed to come home this week and recognise plants that are shared between Denmark and Gidgegannup, which now remind me of that walk.
It’s a busy run until the end of the year for Jubb. This weekend she begins a fortnight as the artist in residence with her regular stockists, Aspects of Kings Park as part of their annual Spring Festival. Jubb is also hosting an open studio event for two days over the last weekend in October as part of the larger Mundaring Hills Open Studios event. All are welcome, so bring a picnic! In early December, she’ll have new work at the Freo Bazaar – a wonderful three day market with loads of talented Western Australian craftspeople and artists. On top of all of this, she has a couple of public sculptures in the pipeline and is teaching herself 3D modelling.
P.S If there are any other artists out there living with a wine distributor, please contact me IMMEDIATELY so that I may continue to drink french wine and eat cheese in the manner I’ve now grown accustomed to. Thanks Grayson!
I love using technology and these days I use Adobe Illustrator to translate hand sketches into digital designs. These are more easily catalogued, adjusted and transferred to other applications. I’m not particularly attached to any one medium or process but love to explore and pair techniques together from different disciplines. For example, I am currently using etching techniques in my jewellery work. I re-discovered etching while I was making public art, exploring industrial processes, and these are techniques I once learned long ago during my study of printmaking.I also like to use uncomplicated processes – like hand saw piercing or heat working metal. I like the transparency and truth held in these enduring techniques passed down through generations. It’s grounding. I feel a connection to past peoples and continuing parts of tradition. It makes me feel less like I was born in the middle of nowhere without an obvious cultural heritage! It also blows my mind to think of all that has gone before – It helps me put things in perspective when I get too focused on a tiny little detail – which is a frequent hazard of the job!
What brought you back to this area after years of city life?
A big reason for returning back to the hills was to live a more balanced and creative life. I felt like I needed freedom from the pressures of mainstream cultures’ cycle of consumption and production. It was wearing me down – and I didn’t want to consume or produce anymore. It was making it impossible to be creative. I’ve done some voluntary downshifting since and life here feels positive and creative again. This returning to place fits for me. I guess I turned out to be a brand of hippy too. I’ve found myself in an environment where I am able to make my life and make my work as celebrations of things that I think matter the most.